As Brawl, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist Steve “Fuzz” Kmak, and drummer Mike Wengren had been gigging around Chicago with another singer for a while prior to their meeting vocalist David Draiman in 1997. Having been expelled from five different boarding schools, the rebellious Draiman found a good fit in the thrashabout heavy metal sound that was Disturbed.
The new foursome kept playing around Chicago and, eventually, landed a deal with Giant Records on the strength of their demo tape and local fan base.
March of 2000 saw the release of Disturbed's debut, The Sickness. An appearance on Ozzfest's main stage and on Marilyn Manson's tour the following year helped the guys find a much wider audience. It helped so much, Disturbed followed up with a fall headlining tour of their own while the album climbed to number 29 on the Billboard album chart.
Off the road, Disturbed recorded their take on professional wrestler Steve Austin's theme song. The track found its way out of the ring and on to the radio. The rockers were also included among the artists tapped for a Faith No More tribute project. However, their contribution of “Midlife Crisis” failed to make the final cut. A documentary of the band, M.O.L., also came in the summer of 2002.
Their next stint in the studio found them working with producer Johnny K and mix engineer Andy Wallace. The goal was to capture a sound that was reminiscent of heavy metal heroes like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Pantera.
The result was Believe which dropped in late 2002 eventually made its way to the top of Billboard's Hot 200 album chart. After the Music as a Weapon II tour and another round of Ozzfest, Fuzz was fired and replaced by John Moyer of Union Underground.
The Music as a Weapon II album documented the tour and was released in 2004. A new studio set came the next year in Ten Thousand Fists with another run of Music as a Weapon III touring in 2006. Indestructible following in 2008 with various tracks making it into films (Transformers) and video games (Rock Band). "Inside the Fire" from Indestructible earned a nomination for a 2009 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.
More touring followed with stints on the Mayhem Festival and Music as a Weapon IV. Then it was Asylym in 2010, an even darker effort than Indestructible. Supporting tours included Uproar Festival, Music as a Weapon V, Mayhem Festival, Rock on the Range, and more.
In July 2011, Disturbed began an open-ended hiatus with internal band conflicts cited as the cause. Giving fans an early Christmas present, Disturbed released a collection of rare recordings, The Lost Children, in November of 2011.